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What do you wish you'd known?

18 Jul 2007 ashleightara asked

I'm curious to know what ppl wish they'd known before they went on their trips, and only discovered afterwards...<BR><BR>For example, <BR>Did you miss something in a town you wish you'd known about? <BR>Did you pack something, and never used it?<BR>Did you NEED something you didn't pack and had to go in search of it?<BR><BR>In particular, looking for different advice to what is already available on the board...share you experience so others can learn from you 'mistake'.<BR><BR>Thanks <img src="" alt="Smiler" width="15" height="15"><!--graemlin::)-->
  • 19 Nov 2007 EMILY said


    The Trip I did was London to Rome in the summer of 2007 with my best friend and it exceeded my expectations. however, there are a couple things ilook back on and wish id had….
    firstly, a second pair of glasses, although the night they were lost was an insane dress up party “shock your mother” i believe it was called, contacts for the rest of the trip got abit anoying…..aswell..
    I wish that I did not miss the walking tour in Barcelona because I was nursing a hangover in the cabins with my friend..ha ha, we had only arrived back at the campsite as the bus was pulling away! Lastly, I wish that my tour guide would have played the song “FROM PARIS TO BERLINOVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!!!
    Overall..CONTIKI you are amazing Wink<!--graemlin:;)-->

  • 27 Feb 2008 msznumeroUNO said


    okay just have question .. people keep commenting that they with they brought heels, would classy flat shoes still do the job or would i be better bringing wedge type shoes?

    with regards to the amount of dressy outfits to take how many would one reccommend to take on tour .. im doing the ultimate european with egypt option and id love some help with that one ..

    with regards to the parties people had on tour .. do ALL the TM’s arrange a tour at the begginning of tour or only some? ive read on a few tours that they have these crazy parties etc .. how long in advance do they tell you? and what have been some themes .. do they get really crazy? (kinda off topic .. sorry)

  • 27 Feb 2008 ashleightara said


    Okay, since I started this topic I learnt heaps of stuff, but now I’m back I have my own advice Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    1. I’m so glad I took more than 1 pretty top, I took 5 actually, and gave one away to a friend. It meant I had more than one night time look. Remember, not only do you have going out plus formal dinners, its not unusual to change before dinner even at the hotel. I went in Winter and still took pretty sinlgets (and a longer sleeved shirt).

    2. Glad I took first aid, I got sick twice and had to buy cold and flu type stuff over there, its possible to do so but its not as good as Codral. Except in Germany where you can get a Vitamin C/Caffiene thing…definitely makes you feel better while its working Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> Oh and I took anitbiotics too, since I got a chest infection. But I still had it when I got home and needed another course.

    3. Glad I took accessories, just cheap $2-5 crap, but it meant I could dress up T Shirts and could change looks. I dumped some of the stuff before coming home because…

    4. Glad I bought accessories. In quite a few countries I bought something small (venitian glass necklace in Venice is cool Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->). It meant I had more to wear over there, and more to wear back home. People have already commented…and its great to brag about. ‘Oh this, I bought it in Venice…’

    5. Glad I packed well and took a suitcase. i read a lot of advice and for/against arguements for bags, but having a hard shelled suitcase meant I didn’t have to worry about it getting wet, or anything getting damaged. I had to sacrifice a little weight for it, but well worth it. My suitcase was also the most organised :P I had different types of clothes in different bags (like packing cubes, but I used bags that came with sheet sets). It meant I could always tell what I had clean. Speaking of, a dirty washing bag is a must. Something to stop the smell from spreading to your other clothes is a good idea too…

    6. Really glad I took a hair dryer. I was told most of the hotels would have them, but thought I’d be safe. I’m glad I did, a lot of the hotels had dryers that looked like vacuum cleaners, just a pipe. Totally useless and would barely dry the hairs on ur arms. I have long hair and it was winter, if you use one at home then take one. Don’t use a straightener, but a lot of the girls had them and they got shared around to ppl who didn’t.

    7. My NUMBER ONE piece of advice for girls RE clothes, is CO-ORDINATE! I had no problems at any point because everything I took matched. I stuck to a colour scheme of black/white/red/some grey it meant everything went with everything else. Going out I could wear black jeans or black pants with most of the tops I brought and accessorise. But that my bags and hats and jackets matched all my shirts to.

    More to come Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    Oh and msznumeronUNO, classy flat shoes are fine if you wear them at home, dressing to go out is the same. And don’t worry too much about the parties, half the fun is doing what you can. If you are really concerned, take accessories and makeup that u could use for fun stuff, and scarves (very useful). But you should be given enough time to buy stuff if u want.

  • 11 Mar 2008 danielle0801 said


    i have a knack of saving the last of all my products to take with me, then throw when finished. such as moisturiser, cleanser etc. saves taking a whole bottle that you wont need.
    just make sure you take more than you think, as when you run out to deoderant, you’ve gotta buy more anyway !

    any more ideas guys… this topic is priceless !

  • 18 Mar 2008 Karlos said


    hey great topic everyone with some more than helpful advice Wink<!--graemlin:;)-->

  • 23 Mar 2008 tazza said


    I’m doing the LA to the Bay this year. Does anyone have anything they recommend to do or take for this trip??

  • 23 Mar 2008 *nikki_adelaide* said

    Originally posted by msznumeroUNO:
    okay just have question .. people keep commenting that they with they brought heels, would classy flat shoes still do the job or would i be better bringing wedge type shoes?

    with regards to the amount of dressy outfits to take how many would one reccommend to take on tour .. im doing the ultimate european with egypt option and id love some help with that one ..

    with regards to the parties people had on tour .. do ALL the TM’s arrange a tour at the begginning of tour or only some? ive read on a few tours that they have these crazy parties etc .. how long in advance do they tell you? and what have been some themes .. do they get really crazy? (kinda off topic .. sorry)

    take the wedge type shoes (i took black strappy wedges), the girls who bought heals ended up getting stuck every 2 steps in the cobblestones and fell over all sorts.

    im not sure how long your tour goes for but mine went for 25 days and i took about 5 ‘dressier tops’, alot of nights you wont actually go out anywhere, just to the hotel/campsite bar where you wont be bothered getting dressed up.

    there were three themeded parties on my tour, retro night, black & white night and revenge of the nerds night. they’ll make it pretty easy so you’ll almost always be able to use stuff from you suit case.

  • 23 Mar 2008 Leecy22 said

    Originally posted by lozachops:
    Do they do themed nights on the American tours too?

    On our Grand Southern tour we had a Toga Party, so yes, it is possible that there are themed nights on the USA tours, I suppose it depends on your Tour Manager.

  • 24 Mar 2008 Ky1987 said


    I hope they do the themed nights when im on the Grand Southern Next January, i think thats an awesome idea..

  • 2 Apr 2008 Steve85 said


    Hello everyone. European Experience in May. Is a sleeping bag really necessary? I’m an aussie and I hate the cold, but i really don’t want to take one. Thanks!

  • 2 Apr 2008 The Addo's said

    The Addo's

    Hey everyone
    loving this topic, I’m going on the UE + egypt Aug 19 and I’ve heard that you can buy sleeping bags from contiki for bout $20 pound, so you can use them on your tour then throw em away. leaving more room in your case for essentials. Can anyone confirm if this is true..?

  • 3 Apr 2008 cdm115 said


    Not all TM’s do themed parties, but most seem to do them to some extent. Usually you find out that day, unless you’ll need to buy something for it, then you get more notice. I think themed parties are more common on budget tours because you’re at campsites where the bars lend themselves to it. Not so cool for everyone to cross dress and hit the bar in a big hotel in a city.

  • 3 Apr 2008 SomethingShiny said


    Some have already been said, but I thought I would add!

    Mediterranean Highlights Tour
    I’m Glad I…
    - Brought heels even though I read not to. I didn’t have any issue. I wore them every night. I’m a real heels lady.
    - Brought walking shoes that could be worn regardless of weather
    - Got a token to collect from each city (I did postcards)
    - Brought a converter, iPod charger, camera charger and extra battery
    - Did all the optionals
    - Called the credit card company before I left
    - Went to the Barcelona city centre the night we arrived while everyone else crashed at the hotel
    - Took video snippets. Even just a 20 second video is great to remember unique moments (i.e. flirting with the Romans, dancing in Barcelona, hearing the church bells in Florence)
    - Got pictures with me in them!
    - Spent 5 euro to split a cab and stay out later
    - Pulled an all nighter in Cannes during the film fest
    - Met and hung out with people on the tour other than the friend I went with. Good times to talk about after!

    I Wish I…
    - Bought more little souvenirs for family and friends. You always forget about someone!
    - Planned out cash withdrawls better. I had to keep getting out more cash since not as many places took credit cards as I thought they would.

  • 3 Apr 2008 Princessvixen said


    I am glad I packed a changed a clothes in my cabin bag
    I am glad i had duty free to drink while i waited for my luggage to arrive
    I am glad i always carry tissues in my day bag
    I wish i had of had a mobile that worked in America so my friend could contact me to tell me her plane was delayed and i didn’t have to walk round LAX for almost 2 hours looking for her
    I am glad i had someone decent to talk to on the way to America as united airlines don’t have movies on the back of every seat
    I am glad I got up early every day as i got a seat at the front on the bus while all the other party animals sweltered at the back of the bus and complained about the heat cuz they were so hungover
    I am glad i am going back to America to do it all again in 77 days!

  • 4 Apr 2008 amer said


    Turkish Delight Trip
    Meditterean Hightlights


    I am glad i went. Enough said. Best time of my life.
    I brought a digital camera.
    I am glad I brought walking shoes.
    I am glad I didn’t overpack. Just the essentials
    I am glad I brought washing soap power to wash my clothes in my $$$.

    I am glad i met some really awesome people.
    I am glad my tour guides were brillant.
    I am glad I got to inside Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
    I am glad I got to play blackjack in Monte Carlo casinos.

    I am glad I brought my GSM phone which worked like a charm.

    I am glad I survived on 100 euros a day.. it was plenty..
    I an glad I ate Gyro sandwiches for 5 days straight in Turkey..loved them..


  • 8 Apr 2008 Glendaly said


    Glad I brought MUSIC to listen to on the ride.

    Glad I brought my journal to record my trip in my own words

    Glad one of my friends had his laptop on the trip and uploaded all our photos to clear the memory

    Regret drinking too much on the night BEFORE the boat ride to Isle of Capri (OUCH. DONT DO IT)

    Regret not being in the ‘moment’ at the Sistine Chapel. I was so rushed and tired, I barely remember absorbing it all. TAKE YOUR TIME.

    Regret not going into the Cathedral at Pisa. Thought it would be dumb. Had to pay. Heard it was GORGEOUS inside.

    REGRET highly not doing the tour from the sky thing at Capri…(I was hungover, remember???)

    Glad I took every opportunity to get OUT of my COMFORT ZONE.

  • 16 Apr 2008 soph3190 said


    guys this post is great and extreamly inforative!
    any other information on the euro tours (im doing euro inspiration in feb ‘09’) would be great and apresiated!
    so many things i wouldnt have thought of taking!

  • 17 Apr 2008 TheNamesLuke said


    Hey all, this is the best feed ever. U all have helped out a lot and given some great advice. I can’t wait for my trip, Euro Experience, 2nd July ’08.

  • 21 Apr 2008 Jess-ade said


    My friend that went on a Contiki a couple years ago said she’s glad she took a silk sleeping bag liner. She used it on the outside of her sleeping bag so while everyone else got bed bugs, she was itch-free and content. Apparently their cheaper if you take them from home though.

  • 26 Apr 2008 nazza1 said


    this is one of the best topics i hav come across and ive been to wuite a few pages on the contiki site…. wen i come back from mine i will tell u all that i hav learnt.. not long now either

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